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Harry Potter--Deathly Hallows discussion: SPOILERS!

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Sarah Perry

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**************NOTE (from Jaina  :duh: )!!**************
This topic is for the discussion of the new Harry Potter book!
If you have not read your copy yet and don't wish it "spoiled" for
you, for goodness sake, turn around!  Run!  Go read!  Stay out!
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SPOILER ALERT!


Now back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.
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Just finished reading my copy.  <3

Pros:
- The fact that most of it takes place outside of Hogwarts provided a nice break from the usual school-year structure
- The relationship dynamics between Harry, Ron and Hermione were superbly handled and so believable
- Despite the high death toll, almost all of the deaths were wrenching and somehow surprising
- The climactic scene in which Harry speaks to his parents, Sirius and Lupin is deeply moving & memorable
- Snape's past was everything I'd hoped for and more
- Almost constant action
- Harry's character development, especially his violently mixed emotions about Dumbledore
- The fact that the Hallows had been referenced in previous books--classic Rowling cleverness

Cons:
- After the extreme bleakness & angst of the rest of the book, the ending--especially the epilogue--was just too jarring and perky
- Ultimately, Voldemort never seemed like a very... substantial foe
- The series is over!

So, yeah.  I wish Harry had died.  It could've been noble and valiant and uplifting and even happy.  The ending JKR chose isn't exactly unexpected, though, and she handled it appropriately.
#1 - July 21, 2007, 02:09 AM
« Last Edit: July 21, 2007, 05:19 AM by Jaina »

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Yes, the epilogue was too ... pat?  easy?  And so different in tone from the rest of the book, yes, I found it jarring.  Nice, I guess, but jarring.

It made me feel like it's wide open for her to write another book (or series) about the kids.  Which would be cute, but... <i>sigh</i>.
#2 - July 21, 2007, 03:23 AM
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Hi, guys.  Any particular reason this is under "Other Stuff" and not "Book Talk"?  If you've no objections, I'll move it there.
#3 - July 21, 2007, 05:07 AM

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the BEST BOOK EVER!!!!

It's hard to read a book when everyone in your house keeps showing up to ask how many more pages you've got. As soon as everyone's read it once, I'm going to go back and read it again.

I loved how it incorporated things from every previous book. Rowling is a genius--book 1 is a zip file of the whole series.

Hm, do you think people would read faster if I asked them how close they are to being done? I want to read it again!
#4 - July 21, 2007, 06:40 AM

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I cried and laughed and forgot to breathe for all 759 pages. It ended just as I hoped it would - I knew, just knew Snape was good - I had no idea how good... I will re-read these again and again... To quote olmue "This is the BEST BOOK EVER!!!!" 
#5 - July 21, 2007, 01:44 PM
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This thread is awfully quiet.  Are most of you still reading?  If you're finished, tell us what you think.  The reviews on Amazon are all over the place.
#6 - July 21, 2007, 04:35 PM
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I... didn't really enjoy it at all, when I read it for the first time in the wee hours of this morning. But today I re-read some of the parts that had disappointed me most and they didn't seem quite as harsh. Still, I honestly have to say that I don't look forward to reading it again, or to reading it out loud to my husband (let alone my children), which makes me sad.

It's very dark. Which I was prepared for, but I wasn't prepared for there to be so little light at the end. Sure, there's an epilogue where everyone seems happy, but I felt as though I'd spent the whole book struggling through a fetid swamp of misery and horror, seeing characters I loved die in degrading and frequently senseless ways, finally broke through into a better place and then... was tossed out of the story before I even had a chance to look around and enjoy the scenery. And I ended up with substantially less respect for some of the characters (*cough*Dumbledore*cough*) than ever before, which was also depressing.

Admittedly, though, I was very tired by the time I finished the book. I'll re-read it eventually and then decide where it ranks among the other books. But I think it'll be quite some time before I feel like picking up Deathly Hallows again.

R.I.P. Snape. I knew you were loyal to Dumbledore and the side of good, I knew you would would die helping Harry... I just wasn't quite prepared for your death to be so cheap and (mostly) senseless.
#7 - July 21, 2007, 06:47 PM

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This thread is awfully quiet.  Are most of you still reading?  If you're finished, tell us what you think.  The reviews on Amazon are all over the place.

I'm surprised you want to know, given your "Heresy" thread.  However, I thought it was great.  Not perfect, by any means, but throughout the book, all the doors opened in the first 6 books were systematically closed.  And even though several of my pet theories were borne out (and I was therefore not surprised by certain turns of events), there were still plenty of surprises along the way.

The epilogue, while a bit pat, is, after all, 19 years after the fact, so I was willing to allow it.  Plus, anyone who couldn't stand the stress of not knowing the fates of key characters could definitely read it and know the fate of the major characters, without knowing how they got there.
#8 - July 21, 2007, 07:23 PM

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I am quite satisfied.
#9 - July 21, 2007, 07:41 PM
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For some reason, I didn't cry nearly as much with this book as with book 6. Just a little sniffling, though it was moving. I was very proud of Neville.
 :horse The last 1/4th was the most satifying for me, if only because it was nice to finally have explanations!! I did enjoy the epilogue, although I wish we could have seen more of those 19 years (if even in little snippets) and more of the parents interacting and less of the kids laughing for no apparent reason. I do wonder if JKR will write a sequel with the kids. Overall, I found it satisfying and fun.
#10 - July 21, 2007, 07:44 PM

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Of course I want to know. 

First, it's a cultural phenomenon.  May not be my cup of tea, but I sure hope the rest of you got closure and satisfaction.  Second, I'm a children's writer, and I'm interested in if and how J.K. was able to pull it off.  The expectations were so high.   

Seems like the reviews so far say "yes," and the regular readers are mixed.
#11 - July 21, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Betsy, it was very satisfying. Rowling has laid in so many plots and subplots in her books that it's amazing she was able to bring them to a satisfying conclusion. I know that there is always advertising hype like "this book/series is the next Harry Potter!" but I don't think such a thing is possible. (And I hope not, since I'd rather be a great writer of my own, instead of just a next Somebody Else, wouldn't you?) But seriously, this...series, or story, is different. And I don't mean because of hype and advertising. I doubt anyone will achieve such a complicated yet satisfying story for a long, looooong time to come. What I continue to find astounding is that it's all there in book 1. The whole story, sort of in zip form. Even all the way down to the last book, there were so-called background details from the very first book that ended up being very significant to the entire plot. It's more than just keeping a list of what color eyes different characters have, or what houses they're in or whatever; it's keeping track of motivations, backstories, interactions that is something that JKR does extremely well. I love her ability to surprise (and since she's able to pull it off for more than one book, she's rather good at it). She's very good at giving you what you think is the truth--and it is, only it's not the whole truth, and time and again, she's able to surprise the reader by giving more of the truth at the right moment, and suddenly you find yourself restructuring the story into something completely different. She's created so many characters to care about, and she cares about them, too, following up all of these little stories, like Kreacher the unhappy house elf, or Neville's relationship with his gran.

Regarding the epilogue--I think it had a number of reasons for being there. First, a zillion readers are going to ask, anyway, so why not just print up the answers right there, and save breath? Second, it settles once and forever the notion that there will be some kind of book 8. No. No, no, and no. There is No Tension Left to stand a book on. No, the epilogue isn't necessary; the story ends find without it. But it's just nice to know what happens.

And regarding mixed reader responses...some of those readers raced through pretty fast. There's a lot in there. I suspect that reading the book by day, at a more normal reading pace, yields a somewhat different response than wolfing it down in one bite.

Something else I enjoyed--sometimes the myth or thematic overtones of a one-of-a-kind book can get a little too big. I'm sorry, throw tomatoes at me, but at some point in LOTR I couldn't really relate to Frodo anymore. His experiences and ultimate challenge were so exalted and so far removed from me that just couldn't keep the connection. Instead, it was Sam who was Everyman, Sam who I found I could hang out with. All of which made the reading experience a little strange to me--the key character being a bit on a pedestal. Despite all the climactic events of HP, though, I never lost touch with Harry. He's heroic in so many ways, yet he's always human and imperfect and vulnerable, and so we can still relate to him.

Also, I found the ending very happy and uplifting. Death isn't something to fear, it's not the End, it's the "next great adventure," to quote Dumbledore. The dead are there, waiting for us. At the same time, the living are alive, too, and those still alive at the end really could rejoice. This wasn't one of those books where the Hero conquers Evil and thereby does away with magic and now everyone lives like a Muggle. Instead, miracles happen, and we can rejoice in that magic.

Themes I loved:
miracles and magic
second chances
gifts, and yet the importance of our choices--such a very big theme
hope
love

Cheers to Harry Potter--the Boy Who Lived!
#12 - July 21, 2007, 10:38 PM

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Very nicely put, Olmue.  Obviously, a lot of people felt the same way.  I'm glad it came together for you.

By the way, I completely agree with you about LOTR.  It got a little too exhalted for me, too, in places.
#13 - July 21, 2007, 11:04 PM
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Thank you, Olmue. That's exactly what I wanted to say. I would have been very disappointed if Harry had died. Not because it would have been a sad ending, but because it would have been too easy. Death is not necessarily the very worst thing you can do to a character, only the very last thing.

(I was hoping JKR would give some hint as to Harry's -- and the others' -- professions. Harry would make the perfect Seeker for the Chudley Cannons  ;D )
#14 - July 21, 2007, 11:36 PM

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olmue - thank you again for putting into words how I felt about this (and LOTR, too)... I'd like to add a couple of things for me... one -  I resisted my OCD reading habits - even though I got the book at 12:01a.m. at a local bookseller, I read only the first two chapters and then went to bed - I wanted to enjoy it. I read all day Saturday - taking a break for lunch and a walk. That way I didn't burn out completely - and reading it was much more enjoyable... and I did cry buckets - starting with Hedwig's death and on down the line...When Harry knows he has to go to Voldemort - as he's walking through the carnage and finding Neville...sheesh! I could hardly read for the tears. I was so frigging proud of him. (And what mother among us wouldn't have been Mrs. Weasley when she fights Bellatrix?)

My favorite line in the book (and probably will be forever) is when Dumbledore says, "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it's not real?"  <<< that sums up the whole HP series for me.  JKR has gotten in my head and made Harry, Hogwarts and everything and everyone along the way "real" for me. Bless her for that... she's enriched my life.

#15 - July 22, 2007, 03:50 AM
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My main disappointment was Snape. Yes, he's good (or makes good choices :) ), but after devoting much of book 6 to him and his "evilness" in Harry's eyes, I thought Rowling would give him a better end (which would include, as Rebecca said, a less senseless death).

Rowling does so many things so well -- so lots to admire. Which I did as I read the book -- "clever girl, clever girl." I liked the revealing of D's flawed character -- it develops one of the themes of the book.

I want to write more, but I gotta get to the church on time. :)
#16 - July 22, 2007, 06:52 AM
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I think Snape's senseless death recalled Cedric's senseless death, and emphasized just how evil Voldemort is.

But I would have PREFERRED a more heroic death--then again, he was more heroic than we knew so . . .  [shrug]
#17 - July 22, 2007, 07:07 AM
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I'm with Anne Marie on Snape's death.  He was, after all, the Sydney Carton-like character in the book, but I wanted his death to be a "far, far better thing".  And while I didn't cry for him in the moment when he asks Harry to look into his eyes as he died, I cried hours later as I thought it over, realizing that to him, those eyes were Lily's, and he died satisfied/happy (or as close to that as he could in that moment).  And that he gave Harry the gift of all those memories and information, which could have felt like an info dump, but didn't.

Dobby's was the death that caused me to sob while reading, however.  I think because it was followed by a brief break in the action with time for the characters to mourn.
#18 - July 22, 2007, 07:36 AM

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I just closed the book and there's a lump in my throat. Wow. I'm very satisfied. I'm still a little too "there" to pick my favorite scenes.
#19 - July 22, 2007, 08:52 AM

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I thought it was fantastic. My heart raced, I laughed and cried. The Harry/Dumbledore reunion was one of my favorite parts and I loved learning everyone's true motivations after all. I almost didn't want an epilogue, but at least I know that's the end and no hope of a future HP. Now, back to book one...
#20 - July 22, 2007, 09:01 AM
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I hope that her next series follows Teddy the werewolf.
#21 - July 22, 2007, 09:43 AM

I kinda feel like I could just say "Yeah, what Rose said..."  I think we feel the same way about HP!  But, I'm going to attempt to make my own list of thoughts...

Yay:

--Overall, loved it.  I'm just amazed how she managed to tie up so many plot threads and mysteries in a satisfying way.  There were a lot of great "yeah!" moments, like Neville taking out Nagini and Mrs. Weasley's "Not my daughter, you -----!"  (Kinda wish Neville could've taken out the woman who killed his parents, but on the other hand, he had his own glory moment, and SO many characters had a reason to want Bellatrix's head by the end of the series...)
--The dynamic between Harry, Ron and Hermione seemed spot-on.
--I loved seeing more about the flaws of Dumbledore, it made him so much more complex and interesting to me, and not the "Gandalf lite" he seemed like to me in early books.
--Loved the Snape past.
--Dudley shook Harry's hand!
--The fates of Kreacher and Dobby.
--The themes, in general, as Rose mentioned, about death and hope and love and etc.
--The pacing.  This was definitely in my list of My Top 5 Most Gripping Books Ever.

Nay:
--Since book 6 I've been peeved about Lupin and Tonks.  Okay, I'm even willing to put aside my theory that Lupin was gay--I may have read too many LJ communities populated by slash fan fic writers.  But we never really got to see why they were a good match, and although Lupin was one of my favorite characters, I didn't really cry when he died because I thought he'd been kind of marginalized and turned into "tragic, doomed dad".
--I, too, wished Snape's death would've been a LITTLE more interesting and not just "snake attack!  dead."
--Oh come on, if you're going to have a happy happy epilogue with everyone married off, can't Neville and Luna hook up too?  And I also wanted to see what everyone's job was.  The epilogue, to me, seemed a little too brief and flaky, with all these characters just turned into cheerful parents--I wanted to know more about them as people.
--Oh, not FRED!
#22 - July 22, 2007, 01:29 PM
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I LOVED Dudley's farewell. Maybe, just maybe, there was something healing for Dudley to have Harry live with him for sixteen years.
#23 - July 22, 2007, 01:59 PM

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I was totally right about Snape killing Dumbledore on his orders. But I must say this: nooooo! Did I have to be right about Snape dying a tragic heroic death, too? And I didn't like how Rowling killed Fred, Lupin, and Tonks so suddenly at the end. I kept wailing, "Stop killing characters!" as I was reading. Besides that, the book was amazing. Many, many fantastic parts. The whole series is so magnificently complex and grand in scale. I don't know how Rowling kept it all straight in her head. I just finished reading Deathly Hallows, so I might post again later when I've had more time to think.

Karen

P.S. Loved Mrs. Weasley taking on Bellatrix. And Ron and Hermione finally kissing, and Harry saying, "Oi! There's a war going on!" And Teddy Lupin sounds like a great character in the making. But Snape! (weeps) I wish he didn't die so fast. I wish he didn't die at all.

P.P.S. Oh, and I got a lump in my throat when Dobby died. I don't know why, I thought Dobby was so annoying before this book, but now.... poor elf....

P.P.P.S. Does anyone think that Lily should have at least had an inkling of Snape's feelings for her? She seemed clueless, almost insensitive.

P.P.P.P.S. One more thing: Hermione seemed weepier and stupider in this one. And where was Ginny? Merely a prize for Harry? I wanted to see Tonks do more than just sit on the sidelines and have a baby, then get killed. It seems a pity that Bellatrix was perhaps the most powerful witch in the story.
#24 - July 22, 2007, 03:06 PM
« Last Edit: July 22, 2007, 04:10 PM by Ravelda »
Out now: DEADLY DELICIOUS

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I loved it--even the epilogue.    I had to read that part twice though--to keep all the kids straight.

I'll definitely want to read the whole book again someday!

Probably soon.

 
#25 - July 22, 2007, 03:45 PM

Though I'm not happy she killed off for no dramatic reason my favorite character Fred Weasley, I think she nailed this book.
#26 - July 22, 2007, 04:14 PM
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P.P.P.P.S. One more thing: Hermione seemed weepier and stupider in this one. And where was Ginny? Merely a prize for Harry? I wanted to see Tonks do more than just sit on the sidelines and have a baby, then get killed. It seems a pity that Bellatrix was perhaps the most powerful witch in the story.

I readily admit I favor my male characters, too, but this has always been a gripe of mine with HP.  Not even an attempt is made to make a good female character!  Everyone important and powerful and interesting is male.  Who do we get for the girl team?  Bookish, bossy Hermione; consummate mother Mrs. Weasley; never-lives-up-to-her-potential Tonks who pines for Lupin and then ends up becoming a wife, a mom, and then dead; boring Ginny; flaky Luna; evil Bellatrix and Umbridge...etc. etc.  We have sexy French veela girls and girls who pine after Quidditch players and devoted mothers all over the place...but the girls, to me, very rarely seem to break out of stereotype and feel important compared to the exploits of the many excellent male characters.
#27 - July 22, 2007, 04:24 PM
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Well, I think Minerva is pretty awesome, but she people tend to take her for granted and forget about her.
#28 - July 22, 2007, 04:34 PM
« Last Edit: July 22, 2007, 07:06 PM by Kurtis »

I actually almost mentioned Minerva in my last post as an example of a pretty awesome female character...but I would like to see more diversity.  And she does still start off as a stereotype--strict but inherently lovable old spinster teacher.

I mean, I still like her, but I'd like to see more than just that.
#29 - July 22, 2007, 04:46 PM
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Okay, I haven't read every word yet - -but I did read the beginning and the end...it's the only way I can stand it :)  Now I can go back and read it thoroughly, which I'm really anticipating.  

I love how she tied everything together, and I can't wait to finish this one and give it a few months -- and then start at the beginning and watch everything fall into place!

I do wish Snape and Harry had a greater opportunity for Harry to let Snape know that he knew -- Snape seemed the most tragic of all the characters, like he was constantly fighting for a prize he'd never claim (since she was dead and married to someone else, to boot)...yep, he's my fav! :)
#30 - July 22, 2007, 04:47 PM
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